Receipt Scanning for Transactions

Is it possible, or has it ever been brought up as a feature request, to scan store receipts using you cell phone to add a quick transaction? As in make a purchase as a big box store, grab the receipt and scan their barcode into YNAB transactions and it automagically makes a perfect transaction. Would be cool...

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    • T Kelly
    • Social Worker by day, Volunteer First Responder by Night
    • helping_hand
    • 3 yrs ago
    • 4
    • Reported - view

    This is a pretty neat idea, but I think it might be nice to do just to scan receipts in to have a copy of them linked to a transaction. It might make reviewing transactions and analyzing the receipts for savings easier.

    Like 4
  • Hi cndshullaw !

    Thanks so much for using YNAB! We’re always working to make it better, and feedback gets digested by our design team, so I'm going to pass this on to them. You may not hear back with specifics, but our research operation is in full swing! :)

  • Really would like this too. Great idea :)

    Like 1
  • Been requested many times, even as the capability of adding a link so that you could scan the receipt and store it in  Evernote or Dropbox.

    Like 1
    • Russell King
    • Facilitator of excellent software production
    • Software_excellence
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    I would find this really useful too. I would imagine the real challenge with this would be be the amount of storage needed, particularly bearing in mind that the service is now mainly Cloud based so YNAB guys would be storing receipts. I would probably pay a little extra for it though. Doesn't need to do anything clever - just store an image of the receipt against a transaction.

  • I used to really want this too (this was a nice feature with Quicken).  I've found a work-around that I actually like better.  This is for MAC / iPhone Use:


    Scanning Receipts via iPhone:

    I use an App called "Scanner Pro" to take a photo of the receipt.  This app makes very nice copies of receipts and documents, it allows you to size them if you want, and to name them.  I use the convention "2018-2-18_Costco".

    Getting the images to MAC:

    I use the Airdrop function of the iPhone / iMac.  It's nearly instantaneous for transferring, then I delete it from the iPhone.

    Saving the Images:

    I use software for iMac called "Yep!" which is a file organizer.  It sees any documents in your computer, allows you to tag it, add comments etc, edit name.  There is a function to file the document, when you do this, the Yep software creates a file structure that looks like this:

    Year / Month / Day - there's actually a folder for each day, so here's what today would look like:




    Once filed, the receipt is now stored in a file that directly correlates to it's date.  You could do the same without YEP and just create your files manually, I just like it because it's a time saver and I was using it before YNAB.

    In YNAB:

    Within the YNAB register, the date of the transaction and the folder the receipt was stored in should match exactly.  If you entered a transaction on 2/19/2018, the receipt would be stored in filed documents\2018\2\19.  I then put a green flag on that transaction to alert me that there is a receipt associated with it.

    Back Up:

    I use Airport Time Machine function of MAC to back up my files automatically.  Theoretically, I should be covered indefinitely. 


    Here's a couple entries on 2/16/2018.  There's a green flag, so I know I saved receipts for these.  Below you'll see the file structure, then ultimately, the receipts are right there in the folder for 2/16/2018.  The whole process only takes about one minute or less.  I don't do this for all spending, just the items I think will be useful later.

    Like 2
      • jayne_m
      • jayne_m
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      rlogue06 This is really helpful. Thanks!

  • And... after all that, I just reread your original post.  You were asking about scanning for transaction entry - not scanning for receipt storage... sorry!

  • I think this would be easy. Just scan receipt or document and save to cloud service of choice. Add hyprlink to the stored document in the notes of the transaction in YNAB. Haven't tried it yet myself but should work in theory. I think YNAB could allow hyperlinks to be clicked on and opened in another browser window with ease and this would prevent adding too much excess programming to the YNAB applications. Remember. The more moving parts, the greater chance for a glitch.

    Like 2
  • Quickbooks online has receipt scanning and a very convenience way to attach the receipt to the transaction online.  QBO stores the photo of the receipt for as long as a person pays for the service.  This "Automatic" attachment of the receipt to the transaction is super convenient.  The con is that if for any reason you stop using and stop paying for QBO, you lose all of that data which sucks.  Neat Scanning allows a person to scan any document and if it has text on it, it uses OCR software to make the text content on that document super convenient to search and find.  VERY POWERFUL.  Again, the problem with Neat, is that the data is stored on the cloud and you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to gain access to that data.  There are pros and cons to all of these monthly subscription services.  I am wishing and hoping and waiting for a company that has the integrity to sell both.  Meaning, why not sell an online service that also backs up to either your local C-Drive or an online folder like Dropbox or Google Drive.  I think people would pay more for having both the power and accessabilty of the online substiption service, but also has the pieace of mind that the data is being stored (and owned) locally just in case the user wants to leave Quickbooks or leave YNAB or any of the services. I believe by offering the consumer the option of having both online and offline (local C-Drive storage) of their data, is a super powerful marketing value proposition because it causes the consumer to feel like they own the data and they are not held hostage by any one vendor like QBO or YNAB.  I digress.  

    As for receipt scanning and storing..... the simply answer is.....convenience convenience convenience.  As soon as a person snaps a photo of a receipt, then they can throw it out.  Receipts that are searchable (amount, vendor, date, product code, etc) are needed for small business tax purposes and on the personal budgeting side, very helpful for personal memory jogging aids.  I think that QBO is a good service for small businesss management because it allows you to not only link your biz bank account to your QBO account and also store receipts, but it does not provide a simple to use personal budgeting function.  It is too complex for that. 

    Bottom line...... I bleieve the target market for YNAB is a personal budget software what is user friendly.  Being able to snap photos of receipts and quickly add them to a transaction would be super super super useful in so many ways and I think YNAB would be able to capture even more market share and be able to endear their users that much more.   Bottom bottom line.... you make a whole lot more users fall even more in love and devoted to YNAB.  AND you could likely charge a little more for that service and people would pay for it.

    Don't build a user a CULT FOLLOWING.... is what I say.

    Happy budgeting


    • Hi Darin J - YNAB Nerd ! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on adding receipt capture to YNAB!

      When you have a moment, would you mind submitting a Feature Request? That form goes directly to our development team so you can let them know what you’d like to see going forward. 😄

      Like 1
  • I just submitted this feature request as well.  I think it's a critical addition in today's digital age.  I use YNAB with 3 budgets...personal and 2 businesses I own.  I'm looking to automate my expense tracking for business and tax purposes with Zapier and QuickBooksOnline soon and here's why I think this feature is a must-have.

    Nobody allows me to budget better than YNAB!  YNAB's transaction adding workflow in the phone app is quick and efficient, unlike QBO.  Budgeting for business is just as important as personal, if not more so.  I would like to be able to snap a photo of a receipt when adding a trans on the phone app, and be able to simply drag and drop or upload a receipt to a trans when adding on the web app.  This way I can file all my receipts with the transactions, regardless if the receipt came in an email, pdf, or paper.

    Just my 2 cents.  Thanks YNAB for a great get on this 😊

    Like 1
  • I would love to see this feature as well! I have a small business and would like to  use YNAB because of it's budgeting feature (I have used for almost 5 years for my personal budget) but I currently have to use Quickbooks Self Employed because I can scan and save receipts which is must for business taxes. 

    Like 1
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